Most would translate a drop in the ocean as ‘a drop of water in the ocean’ but the only thing that comes to my mind when I think of the phrase is the time when I was dropped into the ocean with the Great White Sharks for Shark Cage Diving in South Africa !
We went for shark cage diving in South Africa on our self drive trip in a town called Gansbaai on the South Africa garden route. We booked the shark cage diving a week in advance in the month of June when it is considerably chilly in South Africa and the season is just taking off. We reached Gansbaai on 25th evening and were scheduled to go shark cage diving early morning the next day.
Shark Cage Diving Hermanus Price: ZAR 1250 or around INR 6,000 per person.
BACKPACKER TIP: You can get a 10% discount if you are staying at selected backpacker hostels in Hermanus or Gansbaai.
Shark Cage Diving South Africa – Day 1
Preparing for Shark Cage Diving
We were pretty excited to have a rendezvous with the Great White Shark in Gansbaai and got ready and reached the Great White Shark Diving company’s premises at 7 AM where we had breakfast and were briefed about the shark cage diving and were asked to clear any doubts we might have. There were around 26 of us and we were asked to be patient and were told that there was no guarantee that we would spot the Great White Shark in Gansbaai as the season was just starting.
Some pictures of us boarding our boat for Shark Cage Diving:
After a sumptuous breakfast, we chose our diving suits and snorkel equipment and went on to board a 2 level boat. We were told about sea sickness and water sprays and we chose our seats accordingly. We were also given instructions on sucking on a lollypop to avoid any sea sickness. We chose to sit on the top as the view is so much greater from up there. We were also given wet bags to put our stuff in including the phones and camera to protect them from water showers and getting wet.
The journey began with albatrosses hovering around the boat and dipping up and down in a bright blue sky. It was a bright sunny day and we were enjoying ourselves. We sailed for about 30 minutes and stopped in the middle of the ocean where we waited for an encounter with the sharks. The diving assistant started the process of chumming (dropping a fatty concoction of smelly liquid that the sharks smell and get lured to the location). We did that for about half an hour and there was not one shark in sight. We changed our location and repeated the process but with no luck. Crestfallen, we set on sail back to Gansbaai. What a waste of money and time, we thought !
After a futile day, we got back to the shark cage diving centre where we had lunch and exchanged disappointed looks with each other and the instructors. And as we thought that the money had gone waste, the instructors told us that they were as disappointed as we were that we could not see any sharks that day so they were giving us a coupon of a free dive that could be either redeemed the next day or could be given to family and friends with a validity of 1 year.
Some pictures from the boat on Shark Cage Diving Trip in South Africa:
We had planned to reach Capetown the next day but because we were driving ourselves, we postponed it and decided to stay another day for the shark cage diving and try our luck at spotting the Great White Shark again.
We came out of the cage extremely cold, eyes popping and hearts racing. It felt like we had just got a second life to live. To experience being the tiny speck that you are, colliding into the Great White in an even greater ocean gives you a different perspective about life, an understanding of what it means to be a ‘drop in the ocean’.
Shark Cage Diving South Africa – Day 2
Day 2 of our Shark Cage Diving in South Africa started with a great breakfast spread – briefing – choosing our wet suits and snorkel mask and off we went for another shot at Shark Cage Diving. We spent another hour sailing to the spot and waiting for any signs of sharks but to no avail. As we were praying that we would get lucky today, another boat approached us and told us to go to a location where they had just spotted the sharks. Our spirits rose and we waited expectedly to reach the other spot. The instructors were excited and the assistant started the chumming as soon as we reached there.
See the video with different scenes from our Shark Cage Diving South Africa:
The smell of the chum takes a while to get used to and some people throw up because of it. There were quite a few people who felt sea sick and were advised to go to the front deck to get some fresh air (chumming happens at the rear end of the boat). Suddenly, the instructors told us to change into our wet suits. The first batch of people were dropped into the ocean as we witnessed the Great White from the upper deck ! The sharks hot the cage with open jaws and it was so thrilling just to watch it happen from the upper deck. The shark retreated and the cage was pulled out.
And Finally some pictures of us on the top deck with the great white shark at our Shark Cage Diving trip in South Africa:
Next was our turn for shark cage diving ! We descended into the cage and kept our heads up till the instructors could see the shark approaching (you can spot the shark by its shadow in the water). You have to be careful that none of your limbs go outside the cage and have to lock your feet in. As the shark approached, I ducked into the water with my GoPro and saw the most fearsome sight of my life – a real Great White Shark in the wild just inches away from me. The white shark hit the cage with such force, with its jaws open that my heart stopped beating for a moment. I will never forget that feeling. I could have extended my hand and touched the Great White but of course, we were instructed against it. I then realised I had not switched on my GoPro…
And then as we got our head out of water, the instructors told us to get back and lo and behold, there was another Great White Shark colliding with the cage !!!
We came out of the cage extremely cold, eyes popping and hearts racing. It felt like we had just got a second life to live. To experience being the tiny speck that you are, colliding into the Great White Shark in an even greater ocean gives you a different perspective about life, an understanding of what it means to be a ‘drop in the ocean‘.
If you need any other information about Shark Cage Diving South Africa, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Enjoy your Shark Cage Diving in South Africa !